Menendez Must Go - The Monday AM Quickie 9/25/23

Gmar tov. - Corey

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WGA Wins 'Exceptional' Deal to End Strike

After 146 days, Writers Guild of America members were told to put down their pickets last night when union leaders announced they'd reached a tentative three-year contract deal with Hollywood studios. As the Los Angeles Times reports, members must still approve the deal following leadership votes later this week; union negotiators say the terms contain "meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership."

Early in the strike, one studio executive said the plan was to let negotiations "drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses." But the bosses caved first.

Delusionally Defiant, Twice-Indicted Sen. Bob Menendez Picks Up a Primary Challenger

New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim said this weekend he will seek the seat of the manifestly corrupt Sen. Bob Menendez in next year's Democratic primary. "Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better," Kim wrote announcing his decision. "We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity." Kim, a former Obama administration staffer, may be best known for literally cleaning up the Capitol after a Trumpist mob stormed it on Jan. 6, 2021; now he stands to clean up a mess made by a fellow Democrat.

Menendez is expected to hold a press conference today in which he will "double-down and say he plans to seek re-election in 2024, even if he needs to run off the organization line." In a twist of the knife, an elementary school in Union City, where Menendez grew up and once served as mayor, refused to provide him a venue for today's presser. He has also postpoed his annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, which was set to feature Broadway playwright Lin Manuel Miranda. It's not clear which, if any, elected Democrats will stand by Menendez, who, according to federal prosecutors, searched "how much is one kilo of gold worth" online one day after accepting bribes in the form of gold bars from a crooked real estate developer.

"It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat," Menendez said Friday after the charges against him dropped. Oh, the injustice of it all!

Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman joined New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in calling on Menendez to resign. "He's entitled to the presumption of innocence under our system, but he is not entitled to continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations," Fetterman said. You'd think that much is obvious, right? Well... Three other Democratic Senators on the Sunday talk show circuit declined to demand Menendez's resignation. "I think I want to get back and talk to my colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee before I recommend a path forward," Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy said, weakly. Voters may rightly view such hem-hawing responses with suspicion.

In case you missed it, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press have all the sordid details from the Senator's indictment, which accuses him of abusing his erstwhile chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee to steer nearly $100 million in arms sales to Egypt in exchange for bribes.

Menendez's wife, Nadine Arslanian, acted as a go-between, prosecutors say. Before she started dating the Senator, the Post reports, she could be seen on social media hanging out "with cast members from the reality television shows 'Mob Wives' and 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey.'" Oh, it gets better: The Senator himself hid envelopes of cash inside jackets embroidered with his name that were hanging in his closet, photos filed with the indictment show. One Democratic operative in New Jersey predicted that Menendez won't beat this rap as he did with his previous corruption trial in 2017. "Before, you had people saying, 'It's not like it's cash in an envelope,'" the told the Post. "Now it's literally gold bars and cash in an envelope." The party needs to purge this crook without looking back or it will undermine some of the most important arguments against Donald Trump.

"DEATH!": Trump Threatens Top U.S. General

The New York Times reports that the top prosecutors on the four criminal cases against Donald Trump "now require round-the-clock protection." Threats against FBI personnel and facilities have also risen more than 300 percent since the court-approved raid on Mar-a-Lago last year. And of course the presumptive GOP 2024 presidential nominee himself is encouraging all this. In a Truth Social post on Friday, Trump called for the "DEATH!" of outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who refused to go along with the Jan. 6 coup attempt. Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson also revealed yesterday that her Jan. 6 testimony inspired threats that forced her to leave her apartment for months. In related news, the Associated Press reports that a Colorado judge hearing a challenge to Trump's 2024 ballot eligibility issued a protective order prohibiting threats and intimidation in the case, calling it "necessary" for safety reasons. Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith is requesting a similar order barring Trump from incitement in his Jan. 6 prosecution. Meanwhile, with one controversial new poll showing Trump leading President Joe Biden, and progressive groups sounding the alarm about a major slowdown in small-dollar donations, Politico reports that a White House-aligned liberal group will spend $70 million in an effort to make Biden seem cooler online. Fighting fire with memes...

Fears of Genocide in Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict

BBC News reports that more than 1,000 people have fled to Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh days after Azerbaijan launched a military offensive in the territory, known as Artsakh by the ethnic majority Armenian population. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said yesterday that 30 percent of the territory's population has been displaced. Thousands have reportedly wound up in a Russian military camp, thousands more lack food and are sleeping "in basements, school buildings or outside." Pashinyan criticized his ally Russia for failing to come to Armenia's defense in the conflict, a charge Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls "ludicrous." Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Armenia was a crucial way point for tens of millions of dollars in cash bundles from Russia used to corrupt elections in and destablize Moldova.


  • France Withdraws from Another Former Colony, Niger, Following Coup "Imperialist and neo-colonialist forces are no longer welcome on our national territory," junta leaders said after French President Emmanuel Macron announced he was withdrawing 1,500 troops from Niger, along with a "hostage" ambassador who "has been surviving on the food rations inside the embassy." via Al Jazeera and the Associated Press.
  • Gavin Newsom Vetoes One LGBTQ Youth Protection Bill, Signs Others The Democratic California Gov. signed a gender-neutral bathroom bill one day after vetoing a bill that would have factored parental support of a child's gender identity in to custody fights. via the Los Angeles Times.
  • Canadian House Speaker Apologizes for Applauding Old Nazi from His District Following a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Canadian lawmakers gave a standing ovation to a 98-year-old Waffen-SS Galicia Division veteran who was introduced as a Ukrainian-Canadian WWII hero. via the AP and Politico.
  • Six States Expand Medicaid Dental Coverage "Oral health is inseparable from health care," says New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Joe Schapiro, who sponsored the state's bill for expanded benefits. via NBC News.



That's the minimum annual contribution required to attend the conservative Koch network's annual winter donor summit in the Coachella Valley of Southern California. As ProPublica reports, Koch donors with business before the Supreme Court have had the chance to meet Justice Clarence Thomas at the events, and his undisclosed participation in the fundraisers may have violated federal law.


9/25: Happy Monday! Emma speaks with Ahsan Butt, associate professor of international studies at George Mason University, to discuss the recent schism in relations between Canada and India over the purported assassination of a Sikh separatist in British Columbia. Then, she speaks with Akela Lacy, politics reporter at The Intercept, to discuss her recent piece entitled "AIPAC TARGETS BLACK DEMOCRATS — WHILE THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS STAYS SILENT."


Dumb Rich Guy ROASTED for Lunch Tweet

Someone who is good at the economy please help me budget this. My family is dying.

Union Busting Busted In Summer for Labor

Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect talks with Sam about recent National Labor Relations Board decisions.


"This is the end of leftwing Syriza as we know it. That party died tonight."

-- Stelios Kouloglou, a Syriza member of parliament, speaking to the Guardian about Sunday night's election results putting a Greek-American shipping executive, Stefanos Kasselakis, in charge of the party. Kasselakis, who moved to Athens only months ago, campaigned in part on "drastic" tax relief and wants to remake Syriza in the mold of America's Democratic Party.

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